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South and East Asian Perspectives on International Law

Can the “Rise of the East” thus be seen as an opportunity that may contribute to a democratization of international law, or are we just entering a phase of different hegemonic power relations, this time by a non-Western key player? This is the starting point of this symposium, which, building on the approach of comparative international law as developed in the work of Anthea Roberts and others, seeks to invite scholars from or situated in South and East-Asia to reflect on and discuss some of the following (or related) questions: How does the domestic context concretely shape the perspectives on international law, and how can this be reconciled with the claim to universality of international law and international legal scholarship? Where do Asian voices from different backgrounds see the main challenges to international law, and in how far do they differ from so-called “Western” positions? Which fields and aspects of international law are most considered to be in the need for reform and change? What are the ideas about a future international law? And finally – and importantly – can the ongoing changes be seen as a chance to make international law more universal (in the true sense), or does universalism inevitably have to end up in a hegemonic project?

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